Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Admitting defeat or just finding the appropriate tools?

I'll just say it: a lot of the time, showering is difficult. So difficult, in fact, that I just don't do it. When my choice is between dealing with the pain and frustration that is bathing or going without the evening shower, I have frequently chosen the latter.

This confuses people who have spent their whole lives bathing every day. They say, don't you feel gross and awful? But they just don't understand what it's like. It hurts to stand there. On really bad days, it hurts to have the water hit my skin. And when I feel weak, it's just scary - I'm afraid I'll fall and really injure myself. It's just not worth it.

Now you're thinking, can't you just take a bath? Well no. Getting all the way down into a tub is pretty difficult when you're in a lot of pain. Not nearly as difficult, though, as getting up out of one. It's also a super hard surface to be sitting on, and I'm pretty leggy, so I usually don't fit too well in apartment-sized bathtubs. It's uncomfortable, which is really not what you're looking for when you're already in pain. So.

Recently this reached a point where something had to be done. Bathing is, all and all, pretty important. So Jonathan and I decided that we'd go ahead and get me something to sit on. I've been avoiding this for years. Why? I don't know exactly. Probably because it's like admitting that I'm sick enough to need it. I think this is a remnant of the household I grew up in. We took this really stupid approach to illness, and other unpleasant things: something like, if we pretend it's not there, maybe it'll go away? Brilliant, I know. So for years it's been hard to shower, and for years I've just let it be hard. But it became too hard, and I couldn't ignore it any more.

So shortly before our trip to New Orleans, Jon went out on a mission. He first went to the drugstore and found a stool made by HoMedics that cost $99 and didn't fit in our tub anyway. He then proceeded to one of the neighborhood "dollar stores" (in case you didn't know, Queens is the dollar store mecca) and found one for $4.99 that fit the bill perfectly. Tall enough that I can get onto it, low and sturdy enough to be safe, and the right width for the tub. It works beautifully.

So now I can shower. It sounds like a small thing, until you've been through this. When you lose the ability to do these simple things: bathe, feed yourself, put on clothes - that's when you start to feel that life is just way too hard to live. Sometimes it's a matter of waiting for a flare to end or asking for help. But sometimes there are simple solutions, if you're willing to accept them.

If anybody's got an answer for getting the dishes done with no dishwasher when your hands won't work, I'm all ears. :)

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